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Hockey: Relief as Marlborough secure the first victory in their new league

Marlborough vs Bristol University A                Marlborough win 3-1

Saturday, November 3:  Coming off a strong performance against Cardiff, in a game they should have won, Marlborough made the short trip to Bristol full of determination to record their first win of the season against Bristol University A.

The game started with both teams unable to find their rhythm as the quick, bouncy pitch led to several missed traps and errant passes.  After the frenetic opening, both teams started to play some good attacking hockey without causing either goalkeeper any trouble until John Bromley’s pass found Will Hughes in the ‘d’ and after some cool work Hughes slotted home to give Marlborough the lead.

Marlborough really began controlling the pace of the game due to excellent work with their defensive press which kept Bristol under pressure leaving Marlborough ready to pounce in case of a mistake.  The tactic played out superbly when Hughes latched on to Captain Rich Holman’s pass before nut-megging his marker and firing an unstoppable shot into the bottom right corner. 

The first half ended shortly afterwards leaving Marlborough 2-0 up and very much in the ascendancy.   

Aware of their failings in previous games from a winning position, Marlborough began the second half in something of a nervy manner with bad passes and poor decision making leading to Bristol earning several successive short corner attacks.  With some fortunate defending Marlborough were able to keep these out, but were still unable to put the game to rest with the third killer goal. 

The pressure mounted further as Bristol doubled their efforts and were unfortunate not to score a couple of goals with several lightning fast attacks.

Marlborough’s nerves were finally soothed when Holman once again found Hughes for his hat trick with five minutes remaining.  The relief was palpable throughout the Marlborough team and this relaxation contributed greatly to Bristol scoring a consolation goal in the final minute. 

The game finished 3-1 with Marlborough picking up their well deserved first win of the season.

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Hockey: visitors’ last minute goal forces Marlborough first team to a draw

Marlborough vs Swansea            Game drawn 3-3Back row: Will Seward,Matt Ashton, Will Hughes, Matt Way, Rich Holman, Chris Jones, Anil Sud, John Bromley. Front row: Matt Osborne, James Richardson, Brian Marnane, Alex Milton, Max JarmeyBack row: Will Seward,Matt Ashton, Will Hughes, Matt Way, Rich Holman, Chris Jones, Anil Sud, John Bromley. Front row: Matt Osborne, James Richardson, Brian Marnane, Alex Milton, Max Jarmey

Saturday, October 27:  Still in search of their first points of the season, Marlborough welcomed a Swansea side who had also endured a set of mixed results.  It turned out to be a high octane thriller. 

Marlborough started the game with some excellent possession play orchestrated by the midfield and defence which led to Swansea being drawn out of position with the home side keen to exploit their advantage.
The deadlock was broken when Marlborough defensive stalwart Chris Jones fired in a low drag flick after the award of a short corner.  Minutes later Marlborough found themselves further ahead with a carbon copy goal again from Jones.

Now 2-0 up and in the ascendancy, the home side extended their lead to 3-0 after a failed clearance from the Swansea goalkeeper bounced straight to Will Seward who had an easy tap in.  

With half time imminent Swansea re-doubled their efforts and scored a goal of their own after a sharp turn and strike from one of their forwards.  With Marlborough 3-1 up at halftime, the team knew they had an excellent opportunity to record their first win of the season if they could muster a solid second half display.

The second half began with both teams playing expansive, fast hockey - but now with Swansea the more dominant force.  Their efforts were rewarded with a goal midway through the half to peg the score back to 3-2 and most likely leading to a very exciting if somewhat nervous finish. 

Marlborough created several golden chances to score but were unable to convert any of them for the all important goal to put the game to bed.  In a cruel, if not unexpected twist, Swansea levelled the game in the last minute with not even enough time for Marlborough to take the resulting push back. 

A real rollercoaster game ending in a 3-3 draw that left Marlborough deflated, but with plenty of positives to take forward.

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Hockey: Marlborough first team lose out just before the whistle

Marlborough vs Exeter University 'C'  - Marlborough lose 2-1:       

After the previous week’s disappointment against a beatable Truro side, Marlborough travelled down to Exeter (Saturday, October 20) in search of their first points of the league knowing that they needed to kick start their campaign.

The game began at a fast pace with both sides utilising the quick, bouncy pitch to good effect to establish their respective rhythms of play.  The use of aerial flicks was to prove vital to both teams as the midfields somewhat nullified one another for the opening twenty minutes of play. 

Marlborough were pushed on to the back foot and Exeter capitalised on some sharp work in the ‘d’ to win several penalty corners, one of which was converted to give the home side the lead.

In response Marlborough pushed forward with several attacks of their own led by excellent play from centre back Chris Jones and front man Will Hughes.  Unfortunately the half ended before Marlborough were able to make their pressure tell but with plenty of encouragement for the second half.

The second half followed much of the same pattern as the first with both teams exchanging attacks but unable to gain any further ground with regards to the score line.  The game seemed to be drifting away from Marlborough before, mid way through the half, Will Hughes’ deft pick up and finish under the onrushing goalkeeper levelled the scores at 1-1.  A nervy last fifteen minutes ensued with both teams aware that after such a close encounter just one slip could cost them the match.  

Unfortunately for Marlborough fortune favoured the home side.  After what can only be described as a one off set of deflections and luck, Exeter found themselves 2-1 up with just minutes remaining.

Marlborough pressed hard in the remaining time but despite loading the mid field and attack they were unable to equalise.  It was a disappointing result after such an impressive rally, but the game provided plenty of positives to take forward to the next fixture against Swansea.

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Men’s Hockey: first team find it very tough at the top – and languish bottom of the table

Marlborough Men’s 1st XI vs Cardiff UWIC            Marlborough lose 4-2

Saturday, October 6:  After a tough loss the previous week, Marlborough travelled away hoping to replicate their battling performance the previous year in a hard fought game against Cardiff & UWIC.
The game began at a break neck speed with Cardiff dominant and displaying masterful control and passing accuracy on their quick, bouncy pitch. Within minutes they had opened the scoring from a tight angle after a series of shots and defensive clearances.  

With Marlborough yet to find their feet in the game, Cardiff pushed on further and soon doubled their lead after a drag flick from a slick short corner routine.  

With plenty of time of the first half yet to play Marlborough were in danger of losing the game before it had barely begun.  After their shaky start, they settled down to a much better rhythm and began creating chances of their own with good play down both flanks.  Unfortunately the finishing ball was not put away and the Cardiff goalkeeper remained untested.  However this changed just before half time when Will Seward scored a drag flick from Marlborough’s only shot of the half -cutting the deficit in half.

The second half began in a continuation of much of the first half action with Cardiff enjoying the majority of possession and creating the more open chances.  Their quick, decisive play was rewarded with another goal direct from a short corner after a pinpoint drag flick found the bottom right corner.  To their credit Marlborough pulled another goal back, somewhat against the run of play, with Seward again the scorer after a goal mouth melee.   This led to a rather nervy final few minutes for Cardiff, who were desperate not to surrender their lead. 

The result of the game was finally settled after another brilliant drag flick from Cardiff ended Marlborough’s hopes of a comeback.   The game ended 4-2 with Cardiff the deserved winners and Marlborough’s Alex Milton voted Man of the Match for great work under constant pressure.

Marlborough Men’s 1st XI vs Truro                Marlborough lose 4-1

Saturday, October 13:  Despite having yet to register a win this season, Marlborough went into the third game with some confidence against a strong Truro outfit who had won their previous game 5-0.  The home game started off evenly with Truro showing no signs of lethargy after their long journey to Marlborough and they soon took the upper hand and started dominating possession and making some sharp attacks down both flanks.

Their efforts were rewarded when they took the lead after a snap shot finish from a tight angle.  The lead was soon doubled after some fortuitous play in the ‘d’ allowed the Truro striker an open goal just on the stroke of half time.

The half-time break allowed Marlborough skipper, Rich Holman, to rally his troops in an attempt to mount a comeback.  Marlborough started the second half brightly and as the game became stretched due to fatigue, had several chances of their own but unfortunately were unable to convert them.  Truro pressed their advantage home and with further sharp work up front made the score 3-0 before ending any hopes of a Marlborough comeback with a fourth.

To their credit Marlborough continued to press forward without giving up and were awarded a penalty flick after Holman had a shot illegally stopped on the line.  Anil Sud converted to make the score 4-1 with two minutes remaining.  The last couple of minutes were played out with both sides scrapping for the ball in midfield leaving the final result a 4-1 win for the visiting side.

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Hockey: Marlborough 1st team lose the advantage of early goals

Marlborough 1st XI vs Robinsons A            Marlborough lose 7-4

Last season Marlborough gained promotion in the David Wood Hockey league.  So their first league game of the new season presented  Marlborough with a huge challenge: they were to play Robinsons A, one of the mainstay teams of the ‘Championship’.  
The game started somewhat nervously with Marlborough and Robinsons exchanging errant passes and struggling to find any rhythm against one another.  The game was mainly contested in the centre of the pitch until some skilful work saw Robinsons awarded a penalty corner which was duly dispatched. This galvanized the home side into action and a matter of minutes later Matt Osbourne opened his goal account for the season with a deft finish from an unlikely angle.

Roared on by the home supporters, Marlborough soon took the lead through Osbourne in a nigh on identical goal after some sharp work by Will Seward and skipper Rich Holman.  However the lead did not last for long as Robinsons answered with a sharp goal of their own.  With barely 20 minutes gone and the game already tied at 2-2 one could be forgiven in to thinking the teams might play it safe until half time but amazingly the opposite proved true. 

Osbourne completed his hat trick with yet again another goal - bursting run down the right-hand side before slotting past the keeper as he rushed the attack.  Midfield starlet Will Seward capped a superb first half performance with a mazy dribble and goal after the break down of a short corner routine.  4-2 up at half time.

The second half began and Marlborough soon realised that Robinsons were not even slightly daunted at the score line as they pressed harder and soon found themselves level after two incredibly quick goals.  With Marlborough reeling Robinsons set about further punishing the home team and soon found themselves in the lead after a scrappy goal mouth melee.  Unable to live with the intensity, and greater experience in the current situation, Marlborough had no answer to the visitors who had greatly raised their game after the surprise of the first half. 

Soon the score became 6-4 leaving Marlborough no choice but to launch an all-out attack leaving more gaps for Robinsons to play through.  Marlborough had several opportunities via short corners and shots from distance but were unable to further test the Robinsons’ goalkeeper.  With only minutes remaining Robinsons ended any thoughts of a miraculous comeback by Marlborough, slotting home a seventh goal and ending the game as deserving 7-4 victors.  

While disappointed at having squandered a good position in the game, Marlborough skipper Rich Holman reflected that there were plenty of positives to take from the performance as well as lessons to be learned.

There's more information abou the 1st team and the Club's other teams on the Marlborough Hockey Club website.

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